Madam Speaker, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to participate in the debate today. As we debate the issues of globalization here in the House of Commons, trade meetings are being held on the west coast of North America. We are at a very historic point in the evolution of our economy, our culture and our history.
Let us acknowledge what the WTO is. It is a group of faceless bureaucrats, meeting in secret, carving up the future of our country with no input from the people of Canada.
My good friend from the Reform Party laments the fact that there are 50,000 Canadians in Seattle because they know that the best interests of the people of Canada are not being represented at the table.
Why do we know that? Because we have in the back of our minds as we participate in today's debate the MAI. Right up until the 11th hour, faceless bureaucrats meeting in Europe, in secret, were about to rip apart the sovereignty of our country, along with every other country, until the people stood and said “What on earth is going on over there? Are we as a people, through our government, going to have our hands tied behind our backs when it comes to making future decisions to protect the rights and welfare of Canadians?”
The answer to that was “Absolutely”. There was a massive public reaction across the country. People who identified the issues of the MAI for the first time came out and said “We have got to get off this mad train”. Governments of the world were forced to back off. It was not led by our government, it was led by France, which said that it would not participate any further in the talks if culture was on the table. Canada never said that. At least I did not hear it.
Faceless bureaucrats damn near dealt away the future of our country in Europe just a few months ago. The people of Canada and others across the country rose up in opposition and the politicians, who can hear ballots dropping thousands of miles away, said “Hold it. We have to do a better PR exercise on this”. They backed off and they said “We will be back”, and they will be back in Seattle as of tomorrow morning with the same sort of mentality that the people rejected under the MAI.
Let us face it, when we talk about globalization we are also talking about the impact of the NAFTA. We are extending the provisions of the NAFTA to more than 100 nations. Where do the people of Canada stand on the NAFTA? Do they support the NAFTA? They opposed it under the Mulroney government. They opposed it under the Liberal government. Whenever the people of Canada have had an opportunity to register their view of the North American free trade agreement they have rejected it. Here we are, the NAFTA cheerleaders again, after the government said to the people of Canada that if it was elected it would not proceed with the NAFTA as it was currently written, and it did. The government is saying that the NAFTA deal is so good that it will include all nations of the world.
As we sit here, Sun Belt Water Inc. of southern California is suing the Canadian government for up to $10 billion because we are not interested in exporting our water to the United States. They are suing us because we agreed under the provisions of the NAFTA to such a stupid clause. Is that clause going to be in the next round of the WTO? I do not hear our minister saying that they will get rid of that clause, that they are not going to stand back and let foreign corporations sue the people of Canada because we pass legislation in their best interests.
Where is our trade minister? I know he will be anxious at the WTO to export our health care and education programs. If we export our education programs and our health care, that means we will have to open our borders to foreigners and watch their initiatives in our country. What is fair for the goose is fair for the gander. That is what our trade minister is telling us on the eve of these negotiations.
We have demonstrators from coast to coast to coast saying “We do not want to export our water”. Do we see legislation from the government to close Canada's borders to the export of our fresh water? Not a word.
What about our cultural industries? We have a long list concerning what the government has not done to protect our cultural sector.